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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:29 pm

IZZY IS OUT! OR IS HE?


According to this quote from Axl, Izzy had considered quitting the band at some point before 1991 due to people misinterpreting their songs:

[…] there's a line in ["It's So Easy"], "I drink and drive/and everything's in sight". We were talking about, kind of, how we got away with things and we're lucky to be here. It was real hard knowing that some of these kids would just go out and go, ”Yeah, I drink and drive and everything's in sight.” I mean, Izzy put it best when he said that a lot of people think our record means you know, party and do cocaine and rock ‘n’ roll. And it's like, that just ain’t what it is. So Izzy was gonna quit at one time because he was... didn't like the way people reacted to it.


Izzy would later confirm that he had considered leaving before the band recorded Use Your Illusions, but point to Axl being the problem:

Yeah, it must've crossed my mind a few times. But I didn't think about it every single day. It's true that sometimes things were ridiculous: Axl would leave the stage after the second song and I was thinking, "Man... we look stupid!" But the idea of quitting wasn't deep inside me. The music kept us together. Slash, Steven, Duff, and I weren't living very far from each other and we played a lot. So I wanted to make another record, and we did: it was a double or a triple, I don't even remember (ed.: once again, Izzy is dead serious while saying this!)...


During the recording of the Illusions Izzy was frustrated with the lack of structure to the process and tried talking to Axl about this:

I tried talking to [Axl] during the Illusion albums: 'If we had a schedule here, come in at a certain time...' And he completely blew up at me: 'There is no fucking schedule'.


In early 1991, when asked if he was the guy "in charge of getting everybody’s butt together and saying, 'Let’s go do this', 'Let’s go do that'", Izzy would say:

No, I don’t think so. Not so much, you know? I’m usually the first one who wants to get on the plane, like, a day earlier or something. Let’s go check the place out, you know? For the gig. But, yeah, I wouldn’t say that.


It was also obvious Izzy was struggling with all the controversies the band generated and in particular the late starts:

We've got the gigs booked, so we'd best show up and play. 'Cause I don't want to be on CNN anymore.

Axl's just naturally late. It can get pretty tense at times, particularly when you're supposed to be on-stage and you're sitting there, literally counting the seconds, thinking 'man, we've just had a riot in St. Louis. Now we're in Texas. What the fuck is going to happen here?'
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991


And at the same time, Izzy was looking forward to what he was going to do after the touring:

After this tour's finished, I'd like to go hang out in Europe, preferably somewhere near the ocean, and just keep writing songs.
VOX, October 1991; from July 1991


Around this time there were rumours about Izzy quitting, partly due to him distancing himself from the band and not being featured in the two music videos ('You Could Be Mine' (except for live scenes) and 'Don't Cry'), and before the show at Wembley on August 31 media had been speculating on whether he would show [see previous chapters].


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:29 pm

SEPTEMBER 1991
IZZY CALLS FOR A BAND MEETING; KERRANG! CLAIMS HE HAS QUIT


Some time in September there was a meeting in Los Angeles "about the future of Guns N' Roses" [Melody Maker, October 10, 1992]. It is likely it was Izzy who initiated the meeting to bring up some changes to the band he felt was necessary "for the sake of the livelihood of the band" [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992]. One of the issues were the late starts that resulting in curfews costing the band money:

It was really fucked that it even had to come into play, to base something like that on money. But the reality was that it was bumming me out, to be waiting there because someone else is late. It's just not fair to the audience, to the other band members. And the crew! When you go on three hours late, that's three hours less sleep they get. […] I expressed my feeling to Axl, and the very next night on MTV I saw that I was going to be replaced by the guy in Jane's Addiction. So I took that as an indication that I'd really pissed him off.


"That guy" in Jane's Addiction was Dave Navarro. Tom Atencio, the co-manager of Jane's Addiction, said that Dave Navarro, the group's guitarist, has been contacted about sitting in for Izzy if the guitarist decides to stop touring.

A source close to the band would emphasize that this situation was very different from what went down with Steven: "This is totally Izzy's decision, and it appears to be based on whether he wants to spend the next two years of his life on the road in such a highly volatile situation" [Los Angeles Times, September 1991].

After the meeting, Izzy travelled to Indiana and spent large parts of October and November riding trial bikes [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

The press would also pick up on the story and Kerrang! ran with the headline "Izzy Stradlin' Quits Band" [Kerrang! September 21, 1991]. It turned out that wasn't entirely true, or at least a bit premature, and neither the band or Izzy would confirm Izzy's departure at the time. Izzy wasn't completely out of the band yet, even if he hadn't been able to change the way the band was run. Or, at least, the final resignation would come in November.

In October, the rumors again swirled that he was permanently out of the band, implying his problems with the "madness of it all" and "Axl's tantrums":

Izzy's absence at interviews appears to be more than just a passing phase. Never the most verbal of the band and certainly the only founder-member able to walk the streets relatively unrecognised, his decision seems to have a more permanent quality about it. Throughout the whole tour Izzy had travelled seperately from the rest of the band and rumours concerning his departure from the band began to emanate when the Gunners were in Germany and cancelled a show. These now appear to have been founded with the guitarist finally feeling that the madness of it all had grown too much and that Axl's tantrums had gone too far. Quite whether he has left for good has yet to be clarified, although it is understood that the rest of the band are attempting to coax him back.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:30 pm

1991
AXL BECOMES THE DE FACTO BAND LEADER


For quite a while, the band's approach to Axl had been to leave him alone rather than confront him. As one anonymous band member was allegedly quoted as saying to VOX journalist Nick Kent: "Nowadays we just let Axl do pretty much what he feels, 'cos he'll only do it anyway" [VOX, October 1991].

Kent would also write, likely based on what Izzy told him, that Axl had insisted on the 'Use Your Illusion' albums being so long, that Axl had insisted that Skid Row should open on their tour (despite band members despising them), that Axl had called for the resignation of Alan Niven, and that Axl decided on what music would be played over the PA before the shows [VOX, October 1991]. It was likely Izzy who had a problem with Skid Row, since Slash and Duff would party with Sebastian Bach [Sebastian Bach, 18 and Life on Skid Row, Harper Collins, 2016; Slash's biography; Melody Maker, August 10, 1991] and Duff would invite Bach to play on his record [source?]. Additionally, Slash would repeatedly argue in favor of the long 'Use Your Illusion' albums to get rid of the backlog and allow them to start afresh on the next record [Rolling Stone, January 1991; Melody maker, August 1991; Slash's biography]. So one should probably not take all these allegations at face value.

Regardless, many articles would still imply that the label was afraid of Axl's temper and behavior and would rather accommodate him than put the foot down [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991]. Simply put, "Axl runs the group" [VOX, October 1991] or, in the words of "a source at Geffen," "Axl’s got everybody by the balls"[/i] [Entertainment Weekly, August 1991].

One alleged example of this comes from Izzy when he tells how the firing of Alan Niven happened:

Axl fired [Niven]. […] We weren't given any choice! It happened like that. Four members of the band were against and Axl said "All right, take him as a singer then because if he stays, I leave!" What can you do? What can you say?


Izzy would also talk about Axl's attempts at controlling the band:

In high school, you know, Axl, he had long, red hair, he was a little guy and he got a lot of shit [because of it]. I think he never got laid, too, in school. I hate to bring this up cos this is getting nasty [laughs]. But he never got no pussy at school, Axl. So now the guy's a big fucking rock star, he's got the chicks lined up, he's got money and he's got people... and the power went to this guy's head. I mean, he was a fucking monster! Nuts! Crazy!

And I never saw it coming. I mean, this is my side of it, he'd probably say I'm completely fucking crazy, but I think he went power mad. Suddenly he was trying to control everything. Did you ever see those fucked up contracts for the journalists to sign?

The control issue just became worse and worse and eventually it filtered down to the band. He was trying to draw up contracts for everybody! And this guy, he's not a Harvard graduate, Axl. He's just a guy, just a little guy, who sings, is talented. But man, he turned into this fucking maniac. And I did, too, but it was a different kind of maniac. I was paranoid about the business aspect - I was the one freaking out going, 'Where's all the money?'

[…]

For [Axl] the money wasn't as big a deal. But he had this power thing where he wanted complete control. And you can say, well, it goes back to your fucked up childhood where his dad used to smack him around, you know, and he had no control, so now he's getting it back. But it's like, it's still kooky, you know? You don't have to have everybody signing stuff.


Axl was confronted by rumors of taking control of the band and forcing decision through ultimatums, when he did an interview with Musician in March 1992 (published in June 1992). When the interviewer said, "It seems like you have the other guys in the band over a barrel sometimes. Everyone knows you're capable of saying, "The hell with it, I won't go on" or won't record or won't show up. Doesn't that force the band to say, "We better do it Axl's way or it ain't going to happen at all"? Axl simply responded "Yeah" [Musician, June 1992].

The interviewer followed up by asking if it is fair to say that by going from a shared vision to Axl's vision it takes something out of the band. In his reply Axl would indicate that he had always had the vision and that Slash and Duff was finally coming round to it:

Yeah, it's somewhat fair. That's definitely the case with Izzy. Izzy wanted the financial rewards and the power rewards of my vision. Izzy's vision was much smaller. The other guys in the band just though I was crazy. In order to make certain things happen, certain people had to think certain ideas were completely their own. I definitely knew what I wanted. I didn't know quite how to get there. And sometimes the only way to have everybody going the same place is to allow them to think that they're the ones who thought of it. [...] It's not so much that way anymore and it's been real difficult to uncover that reality. It's been hard for people to accept. But it has been a basic reality of Guns N' Roses since the beginning. It just wasn't seen. Because I wasn't someone who had all the answers and all the plans, I just had a vision. I wasn't necessarily someone that people wanted to follow blindly and say, "He's got the plan, let's go." I've finally earned respect from Duff and Slash that wasn't necessarily there before. And Slash and I, more than anyone else, are very much a team.


In September 1992, Izzy would be asked about Axl claiming he was the man with the vision and reply sarcastically:

Yeah, that's right! […] Surely, yeah, whereas we wouldn't see beyond an hotel bar's closing at two in the morning. Without doubt! We played behind him for five years, and never, at any time, we thought about what was happening! Authentical! Whereas him, he was cogitating, in his bedroom. You know, we were just trying to stay in life, behind.


In May 1992, while opening for GN'R, Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, would describe GN'R this way:

GNR and their management are like a small government. Axl's the president, and his manager's a personal advisor. A couple of the other more visible band members are vice-presidents.
NME, June 20, 1992


When Slash was asked about the running of the band, in mid-1992, he offered a corroborating picture:

We all have our own particular little things that we do. You know, that we do best. Like, on a creative level, having to do what the band is doing, it's really between Duff and Axl and I. Because none of the other guys are actually original. Although Matt's come in and we sit down and listen to what he has to say about stuff. You know, Axl has his thing and I more or less like, the day-to-day stuff because I'm always there. Like: "Give me something to do!" So I get into that. Duff has his thing and we just fall into it naturally so there's not a lot of debating as to who does what.


But it was clear that if you weren't part of the partnership, e.g. Axl, Slash and Duff, you were to some extent left out of the decision making process:

[When asked what the future holds for the band]: The future is very hard to say. We’ve got this tour going on right now and we’re gonna, you know, probably go out again in January and do Japan and South America and Australia. You know, you never know what’s gonna happen with this band. I pretty much – I wake up in the morning, turn on MTV and, you know, I find out (chuckles). […] Or the radio, I turn that on, you know, “Axl’s in jail,” oh wow.


In May 1993, Dizzy would be asked if the band worked as a democracy, but his answer wasn't decisive and he said that everybody had different roles:

Yeah, kind of. There should be. Everyone knows what his role is and keeps to it.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek


Later, in 1996, Matt would discuss why he had come to accept Axl as the visionary leader of the band:

And Axl is really intelligent and he always make the good choices. I must agree with him, because he's a visionary. He knows what GNR should be 2 or 3 years in advance. When we got out of the plane [after the end of touring in 1993], he said: "Guys, we'll see us again in 96". It was 3 years ago. And now, we work together and an album will be released in 97. […] You know, when he does something, when he present it to us, I say "This guy is crazy!". But he's always right! Like when we did Use your Illusion 1 & 2… When I heard this idea, I said to myself "He's crazy! We will release 30 songs on 2 albums? I would never buy 2 albums of the same band." Result? We made history with those 2 albums. Nobody did it before. […] You know, the first time I heard November Rain, I thought: "What is this shit?, What does Axl is doing behind the piano? I want rock!" But I was new in GNR and I thought "Matt, you leave The Cult and now you're in the greatest hard rock band of the world…" He sat at the piano and I was thinking "This is shit". Then the song came out, and it's the biggest thing we've aver done! That's why I have this attitude: "OK Axl, you think we should do that? I'm with you". You know what I mean? He knows what he's doing.
Pop & Rock, June 1993; translated from Greek


Slash would also confirm that Axl had become the leader:

[…] realistically from Use Your Illusion all the way up until now, Axl's been holding the reigns on taking it in his direction […]


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:30 pm

OCTOBER 1991
DUFF IS TOLD TO STOP DRINKING


In the March 1992 issue of RIP Magazine, it would be claimed that Duff's drinking got so bad his doctor in October 1991 told him to quit drinking [RIP Magazine, March 1992]. Three months later, in January 1992, Duff was still sober but said it was hard:

I want to go a year, but it's gonna be tough.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:31 pm

NOVEMBER 1991
AXL AND SLASH WANTS MORE FROM IZZY


After returning to Los Angeles from Indiana, in the second half of November [Kerrang! September 5, 1992] at the end of the band's rehearsals for the next leg of the tour [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], Izzy had a meeting with Axl and Slash where Izzy was "threatened" to be demoted from "equal partner", which would affect his share in revenues, unless he started to work harder. This was the final straw for Izzy:

In November I went back to LA, and there were some conditions and terms put to me which pretty much made the decision to quit the band real easy for me. I just thought, this is not acceptable - so that was it. […] When I was told how the future was gonna be in the band, I thought about it for a long time that night, and when I woke up the next morning, I knew what I was gonna do that day. I decided to leave.

I went out there and I was trying to work it out with those guys. And it was put to me by the singer how things were gonna be. There was an agreement I was supposed to sign and when I heard the figures I said, 'There's no way I can go along with this.' I just didn't think it was fair, so l said, 'Well, screw it. Gotta go.'

It was made clear to me how things were going to be run. I slept on it, and when I woke up in the morning, I said, ‘That’s the end of the line for me.’ I just felt like my opinions were no longer considered valid. It wasn’t about being a rock ‘n’ roll band and playing music any more. Life is tough enough to live day to day without an extra 50lb of aggravation on your head.

[…] Axl made it clear that he was going to do things his way, and there was no space for debate. So I had to make it clear to everybody that that was the end of the line for me.

It was about time that we had some long discussions. I went back out to L.A. and hooked up and had a rehearsal and talked to the guys. Things didn't feel right. I just decided I was going to say goodbye and wish them well.

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint.'


Axl and Slash would explain what they wanted from Izzy:

The guy’s a great songwriter. He’s got his own style. He's a cool character. But I'm so ambitious about what I do that I’m always a mile ahead of myself. He’s so not into doing anything. He could be so potentially awesome if he would let himself get totally involved in the band trip, or even his own thing. But he’s so laid back he’ll probably never get around to it. […] It’s strange, but when he got high, everything was cool. He got clean and he couldn’t hang out in the Guns N’ Roses element, or whatever. […] He didn’t wanna do any videos, hardly wanted to show up in the studio. When we ended the last leg of the tour, he didn’t play guitar for three months. He was riding his bike in Indiana or whatever. […] When he showed up at rehearsals for this leg, he sounded like he hadn’t played in three months. The next day he didn’t show at rehearsal at all. Me and Axl were at the end of our f—ing rope. He wasn’t contributing. He was equal partner in the band, so we told him, ‘Until you start doing something you’re not an equal partner.’ He resigned. Didn’t even tell us. Sent notification to the office, the accountant.

So then Axl and I decided that he wasn’t an equal partner, per se, unless he decided to change his ways about a few things — at least do like a couple videos a year, and work harder on the road. And Izzy said, ΌΚ, I resign'. […] But I can’t understand why he would drop out of something as cool as what we’ve been doing. That’s not an ego thing — that’s not like ‘We’re the biggest band in the world and why would you want to quit that?’ I was like, ‘Why would you want to quit the relationship that we have that got us to where we are? Why would you just want to flake out on it?’

[Izzy] stopped wanting to do it, you know, and he didn’t want to go through the ups and downs of what any rock band goes through, which is sort of like your own life, but we live our life out in public. But he just didn’t want to make any effort.

We love Izzy, but there were certain things we weren’t getting from Izzy, that we really wanted. Everybody was, like, giving a certain amount, and we thought that everybody should give energy in a certain way to Guns N’ Roses; and we weren’t getting that.

But basically, we just came to the conclusion that Izzy wasn't putting in the time we thought was necessary for the good of the band. It had been building up for a long time. And finally Izzy came out in the open with me and Axl and said he didn't want to deal with the work that was involved. So we decided to work with someone else.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:31 pm

NOVEMBER 1991
IZZY AND AXL HAVE A FALL-OUT


After the meeting with Slash and Axl, Izzy went to the band's lawyer and prodded into the band's finances presumably not happy with how the band was run [Popular 1, November 1992], Although Slash would say that Izzy checked out the band's finances before the meeting with him and Axl:

The next thing we found out though was that he’d been down to the accountants to find out how much money had been spent on what, when it had nothing to do with him. Axl and I went to him and said ‘Unless you start doing such and such you’re not a full partner anymore’ (Slash’s reference to ‘partners’ here deals with the GN’R corporation which all initial members were part of to take care of business – Ed). Then, without even calling us, he resigns through the office.



IZZY AND AXL TALKS ON THE PHONE


Axl tried to convince Izzy to stay and they had a "four hour" phone conversation that ended "amicably" [Popular 1, November 1992]. In this conversation Axl said it was okay if Izzy "didn't want to do this anymore", likely implying that the band would be fine with Izzy not touring any more [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992].

Axl had a talk with him on the phone and just said ‘Well, listen if you don’t want to do this anymore then that’s fine ‘cos maybe we can write together in the future’ and Izzy was cool and it was real amicable.


Izzy would later talk about this phone conversation and what Axl tried to achieve:

Let’s say that what [Axl] did say didn’t make any sense. (laughs). I didn’t understand what he wanted to get out, but, whatever it was, he didn’t accomplish anything.

Before I left I spoke with Axl for a couple of hours on the telephone, and he made it real clear to me that he was going to be running things, so to speak, and there were some conditions put up that I was going to have go by. He was trying to make it good for me as well, I guess, but at the same time I realized that was it, I was done. The next day I signed my leaving papers. What a relief, too, I gotta tell you. I got tired of it, man. I just didn't understand it anymore. It didn't make any sense to me.



THE MOOD SOURS


According to an interview/article with Izzy in November 1992, Slash claimed that Izzy then spoke bad about Axl and Slash behind their backs, telling the rest of the band that he had been fired and that they didn't give him an opportunity to defend himself [Popular 1, November 1992]. Slash and Axl heard about Izzy allegedly badmouthing them:

Then he turned around and told Matt and Duff behind our backs that we’d kicked him out. That pissed Axl and me off to no end. Izzy didn’t know we knew and he went over to Axl’s and Axl just turned around and said ‘Get the fuck out of here!’. It was pretty bad.

You wanna know how he really hurt me? When he came up here to my f?!king house and acted like, "What's wrong, man?" It's really weird; I knew he was coming. I could literally feel his car driving up as I was getting dressed. I went outside and sat down, because Izzy couldn't come into my house. I couldn't act like he was my friend after what he'd done to me. He came up and acted like he hadn't done anything, but he let us down at a weird time. It wasn't like someone leaving the band because they couldn't take it anymore; he left in a shitty way. Izzy called up members of the band and tried to turn them against me by saying that I pushed him out, and that's not how it went down. He said a lot of shit behind my back. He tried to make a power play and damage us on his way out, and that's real f?!ked up.


Izzy would also mention the meeting at Axl's house:

[Axl] rang and said, "Will you still write with us?" and asked me to come over his house.

I walk up and he comes out and starts screaming, "Get off my property!" I thought, "You fucking little hayseed redneck trailer trash son of a bitch." What a dick. I drove away feeling like a mountain had been taken off my back.


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Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:32 pm

NOVEMBER 1991
IT IS CONFIRMED: IZZY IS OUT


On November 16, the guitarist Marc Ford told that he have received a phone call from Slash (on November 11 and 12) where he'd been asked to become Guns N' Roses' new touring guitarist. Ford, who had recently joined The Black Crowes, declined [Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1991].

In February 1992, Slash would say that Izzy "dropped out three weeks before we were meant to start the US tour" [Raw Magazine, March 4, 1992], probably meaning the leg of the tour that started on December 5, 1991, meaning that Izzy quit the band in mid-November 1991. This coincides well with Marc Ford being asked to replace Izzy on November 16, although the band had obviously considered other guitarists, including Dave Navarro as early as September 1991, around the time when they had the band meeting in Los Angeles [see earlier chapter] and it became obvious Izzy was considering to quit the band. Later, Slash would pinpoint the date of Izzy's departure to November 7 [RIP, March 1992]. It also coincides fairly well with Izzy describing that he spent October and the first half of November in Indiana riding trial bikes, before returning to Los Angeles in the second half of November and then quitting [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Apparently, Matt tried to dissuade Izzy from leaving:

When Izzy left, I wasn't happy. I spent hours on the phone with him, asking him not to leave us.
Hard Rock, September 1996; translated from French



NOVEMBER 27: MAKING IT PUBLIC


MTW News then reported that Izzy had quit the band, but the news was quickly withdrawn by the request of the band [RAW, December 1991] only to be officially announced by Axl on November 27, on a Rockline interview. Axl would also state that Gilby Clarke would replace Izzy for the tour:

Izzy has resigned. […] At this point, no [=Izzy will not continue writing with the band]. And we have our own plans for the next - the follow-up - and then the record after that. And it’s kinda like, we’re going in separate directions, and he’s not really into touring or video or anything like that. And Slash and I are the ones, you know, figuring out the direction that Guns N’ Roses is going, and Izzy is not really part of that anymore, so...[…] Right now we have a guitar player named Gilby Clarke. And he’s been in Hollywood about as long as us. And, you know, he’s doing a really good job. But I don’t know about farther than the touring.



REACTIONS FROM BAND MEMBERS


[When confronted with a fan who was shocked about Izzy leaving]: Well, we’ve been together for 15 years, so it’s kind of a shock to my system too.

I'm real... hurt, confused and disappointed with Izzy.

I'm no longer working with Izzy, and people have written about how that went down. (Axl laughs) They weren't around. They didn't see it. They didn't know. They didn't know how painful that experience was. They had no clue. But yet, I was just a dick. (Axl laughs) I just went off on Izzy. You know, he tried to talk to me nicely and l went off. That's not how it went down. It was funny: when Bruce Weber was taking the photos of Stephanie and l for this article, that's when l got the call that Izzy was leaving the band. […] Bruce was taking photos and I was standing there crying. l was blown away. At those times when we're against the wall kissing and my tongue was out and stuff, it's like, there were also tears going dawn my face but with the lighting or whatever it doesn't show. But it was there. Stephanie was helping to comfort me. We didn't go, "Well, let's hug and kiss for the photos." She was comforting me -- my friend of fifteen years was leaving.

The timing, I guess, wasn't a very comfortable thing.

[Izzy] didn’t have the courage to come up and tell us in person; he got his lawyers to contact us. He left me looking for a replacement with about a day to find one. Thanks a f------ lot.

And when [Izzy] finally quit it was, like, such short notice and so close to the next leg of the tour. And he didn’t call any of the guys in the band; he just called management and sent, like, a letter of resignation.

I'll admit I wasn't real pleased with Izzy when he left Slash and I high and dry, trying to find a guitarist three weeks before our tour started.

So we managed to get on tour during the making of the "...Illusion" albums. Then we took one short break - and Izzy quit two weeks before the next leg of the tour was to start! […] Without talking to the guys in the band, he called management and the accountants' office. I'll never forgive him for that because I've known him for so long and we've been through so much together, blah, blah, blah.


I August 1992, Slash would claim he was happy about Izzy leaving:

In fact, I was really happy because I could never understand what was going on with him. Like even on stage, he would just sort of stand there--and that was the only time I'd see him on the road because he traveled separately. When he finally left, it was like a relief because there had been no communication at all.


That Slash wasn't angry with Izzy at the time, and rather happy about it all, seems somewhat at odds with quotes where Slash expressed frustration with Izzy for not doing his part, and feelings of hurt when he quit.

In September 1992, Duff would say that the split was "amicable and all" [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Again, no, it likely wasn't entirely amicable.

In mid-1992, with Izzy having left the band, Slash would look back at firing Steven and compare with Izzy:

The reasons [why Steven was fired and Izzy quit] were very different. Steven didn’t leave only because of his drug problem, but also because he couldn’t handle the pressure. And I hate to say it, but I miss him much more than Izzy, who thought that being in the band was just a question of ‘sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll’; he didn't accept the other aspects of this job.
L'Unita, May 16, 1992; translated from Italian



THE SILVER LINING


Axl would also philosophize on losing members and turn a positive spin on it:

Yeah, well, it’s kinda like...It’s evolving, you know. And certain members necessarily couldn’t keep up with where it’s going, and, you know, we actually ended up being more happy with where we’re at now than where we were. It’s like, we’re glad about the times we had with these people and the songs we did, but it’s evolving, and we’re really happy to be where we’re at right now. And we feel stronger than ever, you know. There’s obstacles every day that seem like the bottom fallout. But we put it back together and we’re usually much more happy with the results of putting it back together than where we were before the accident happened. […] And it’s like, everybody wants to see that togetherness that maybe they aren’t necessarily able to achieve in their own lives, you know, and to relate to it in someone else’s. And it would be nice if we were able to make people happy in that way. But that’s just, unfortunately, how it’s worked for us. And, you know, we’re really happy musically with where we’re going and the directions we’re going.



WELCOME BACK?


Izzy would claim he was immediately open to working with the band or Axl again:

When I left the band, I told [Axl]: “If you ever need me to make a record, don’t hesitate to call.”
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French


And not long after Izzy quit, Slash would say Izzy would still write with the band and occasionally play with them, but that he was out as a touring musician:

Izzy resigned from Guns on November 7, 1991, because his heart wasn't in it. He's just not interested anymore. It was one of those things where he just didn't want to tour again. Izzy's been keeping himself more or less clean for quite a while now, and the chaos of being on the road, especially with the rest of us driving him crazy, he just couldn't deal with it. He's been 110% sober for the past two years, and even though I'm not shooting up or anything anymore. I'm still a nutcase when it comes to extracurricular activities. He tried to come back though. He came to a couple rehearsals, but he really wasn't there. He didn't care. His heart wasn't in it. Izzy's still gonna write with us, and he might make a few special appearances on the road, but he's no longer a touring member of the band. As for me, personally, I'd rather Izzy be happy. And this is what he wants.



ENDING THE PARTNERSHIP


When I left the group my lawyers negotiated a deal which said that I was to be given a certain percent on everything the group earned until November 1997.


This could indicate that after 1997, Izzy was not due any further revenues from Guns N' Roses.


LOOKING BACK


I never regretted the decision to quit. The week I left I was back in Lafayette and I watched this big pay-per-view thing they did from Paris. It was weird but I was thinking I'd much rather be here watching it on TV then shlepping around with those guys.

I survived. I managed to get sober, we were so fucked up... otherwise, there weren’t any bad memories, we only had great moments.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

[Being asked if he was bitter]: No, I was paid and I had a good time.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French


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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:33 pm

WHY IZZY LEFT


I don't really enjoy being a center of attention. I'm more into the music and what's happening with that. I enjoy having those guys take care of the publicity.

You know it's one of those things where all I can say at this point is that I left for my reasons, and I really can't talk about it right now. I mean, I've gotta leave it alone for a bit. There's too many unresolved issues, so if I talk about it it's not gonna help things any. I hear this, I hear that, but I figure, let it fuckin' blow. Hopefully, down the road the stuff will all get cleared up.

___________________________________________________________________

There is likely not one single reason why Izzy left, many reasons have been given by the parties involved. Hence, it is easy to choose the one that fits one's narrative the best.


TIRED OF IT ALL


I was sick of it, just completely fed up with it. It didn't feel like it used to, something wasn't happening that used to happen for me.

Well, this gig wasn't making me laughing anymore. You know, it's quite easy, I wasn't happy anymore. So I told myself, all right let's do something else!

Guns N' Roses was pure chaos. The smallest thing could turn into a massive problem. You'd get pulled in one direction and then the other. It was really difficult keeping hold of where you were supposed to be going. What really bothered me was working on 'Use Your Illusion I and II'. It progressed really slowly. Each song kept being taken to bits and analysed again and again and remade and before you knew it was weeks and months had gone by. When we finally finished a song I'd forgotten how to play the others. Slowly but surely, I began to realise that I wanted to have less and less to do with it. When things went on and on I finally realised that I'd have to do something about it.

It was a very clear-headed decision. I didn’t leave in any emotional state or anything like that. See, I just wanted to play music and have fun, just enjoy it. And it wasn't like that anymore.

The machinery was working, the planes were flying, the shows were happening just like always. But once I quit drugs, I couldn't help looking around and asking myself, `Is this all there is?' I was just tired of it; I needed to get out.'


In the following quote Izzy would also say he was tired of Doug Goldstein:

I was so terribly tired of the whole business so I took a time off. I was tired of my manager and I had a Guns N' Roses deal hanging over me.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998: translated from Swedish


Goldstein would later tell his version of why Izzy left:

Sometime in 1991, during a break in touring, Izzy Stradlin called me to inform me that he wanted to leave the project. He thought the whole thing was insanity. The rampant drug and alcohol abuse by the rest of the band (with the exception of Axl), and being in a different city everyday was too tough for him to maintain his own sobriety. He informed me that he "just wanted to be in one of the biggest club bands in the world, not one of the biggest bands in the world".


The "Guns N' Roses deal" that was hanging over Izzy was likely Axl and Slash's attempt at forcing Izzy to work harder or be demoted to a member on salary [see previous chapter and below].

That Izzy didn't enjoy the band anymore and wanted a change, is also indicated from him slowly distancing himself from the band in the period leading up to his leaving. This comes through in the following quotes where Slash talked about Izzy's absence during recording of the 'Use Your Illusion' albums with Slash having to record most of his parts:

[Izzy] just wanted to hang out. He thought it would be easy. Even on stage, I knew I had to walk around this person. We never got a sound thing together, or a guitar combo — I ended up playing most of the guitars on the record. […] When he left, he didn’t even resign to us. He called the office, and sent out a memo to everybody. There was a certain amount of hurt in that.

Izzy basically left while we were recording the "...Illusion" records. He's not on half of those records. He hardly even played on his own songs!

The whole things goes back quite a way. That goes back to the end of our first tour (which ended around late ’88). Izzy and I both went through a breakneck fuckin’ drug bout where we were both very scarey. There came a point where Izzy had to go out to Indiana and straighten himself out as well as me reaching a point where I had with the authorities in the US. I just felt it was ridiculous. The band weren’t doing anything, we’d just played the Stones dates and it was a case of trying to get it all back together again. We went to Chicago to try and do that, as you know. Izzy just didn’t show up for like three months or something. It was just then that it became increasingly obvious that he wasn’t making any effort to do it anymore.

All this shit was going on but, like I said, I don’t go public about shit that’s that personal when it can harm us. And the shit that was going on with Matt and Steven was enough to possibly destroy us. If it hadn’t been for Axl and I really holding on to what Guns N’ Roses is all about and what we had in store for the future was concerned, I’m sure that we would’ve broken up already by then. Izzy was doing nothing to keep it together. He wasn’t playing that great and when he finally showed up he hadn’t touched his guitar for like four months, he didn’t want to be in the videos and he hardly played on the records. All the songs on these records that are his are old demo tapes from years ago that we worked on.

The bottom line is that you’re only as weak as your weakest member and that’s pretty true. When it got to the point where it was me, Matt and Duff rehearsing and trying to get ready for the European tour it didn’t look too good. When we came home after Wembley we carried on rehearsing ‘cos I wanted to hire some horn players. Izzy just wasn’t there.

While I was hiring all these horn players and doing all this work Izzy didn’t seem to care about what we were doing. He showed up right at the tail end of rehearsals and it just was like ‘What the fuck is going on with this band?!’

It’s kinda funny because I know a lot of people are pointing their fingers at Axl and me as being the assholes in this whole thing because they really liked Izzy. The truth of the matter is that we tried everything to keep him going and he just didn’t want to do it. It was a real shame.

To get a clear answer [on why Izzy left], you'd have to ask Izzy. My personal belief is that Izzy never really wanted something this big. There were responsibilities that Izzy didn't want to deal with. He didn't want to work at the standards that Slash and I set for ourselves. […] He didn't want to do videos. […] He just wasn't into it. Getting Izzy to work on his own songs on this record was like pulling teeth. When Izzy had 'em on a four-track, they were done. I mean, I like tapes like that, but we'd just get destroyed if we came out with a garage tape. People want a high-quality album. And it was really hard to get Izzy to do that, even on his own material. Izzy's songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record, not because Izzy gave a shit either way. If people think I don't respect Izzy or acknowledge his talent, they're sadly mistaken. He was my friend. I haven't always been right. Sometimes I've been massively wrong, and Izzy's been the one to help steer me back to the things that were right. But I know that I wanted to get as big as we possibly could from Day One, and that wasn't Izzy's intention at all. I think he's ready to do like an X-Pensive Winos (Keith Richards's band) thing. So maybe the world'll get another really cool band. I know that I'll be trying to get an advance tape, just like everybody else.

I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user.

As far as keeping Guns N' Roses going and figuring out what we're doing, Izzy really wasn't that much involved anymore. He wrote songs, but those songs were on the record because I wanted them on the record and because the band agreed to learn them and liked them and we all worked on them. I really believed in Izzy. I was an Izzy fan for 15 years and I wanted his songs to be a part of this project. But it was like pulling teeth to make that happen. A lot of people might have liked the way Izzy was standing there onstage and it was kind of cool, but the truth of the matter was that Izzy wasn't handling any of the weight.

I love the guy [=Izzy] dearly, so I don't want to belittle his character by saying anything about him. But he just got sick and tired of dealing with everything. I think more than anything he didn't want to do the amount of work that Guns N' Roses has to do to keep it together. […] I totally sold my soul to this thing, but Izzy wasn't that way. He didn't want to do videos or spend all those hours in the studio, and slowly but surely he started to drop out.

After, after the whole drug period… Um, I think everybody went in their own directions. And as far as dealing with getting off the drugs, everybody had their own approach. And from the time that we'd more or less quit, you know, dope and stuff. Um, Izzy had more or less lost interest in… I don't know if he lost interest or, I mean there could have a lot of phases, and I don't wanna, you know, put Izzy's personality into one little sentence. But what it seemed to me was that he'd lost interest in doing the work that was involved. He didn't feel comfortable with all the other guys. Because we'd all gone through this massive emotional experience in trying to get ourselves out of the slum. And he just didn't wanna run with the ball anymore. So, when we finally did get through that whole period and we, we got into the studio he wasn't that interested. He didn't have that much input, as far as recording and all that was concerned. And that was a really stressful time for the entire band anyway. And we went out on tour, and he finally quit. And the time that he was on tour, right before he quit, I was just really pissed off. Because it seemed like he'd show up and he would stand on the stage, for the alotted two and a half, three hours. And then, you know, split. I felt for that whole period of time that he was on stage, he really didn't wanna be there.


Slash would also claim that the band worked up Izzy’s songs from the rhythm guitarist’s demo tapes, and that he refused to rehearse, record overdubs, appear in the band’s videos and was virtually lifeless on stage [Dayton Daily News, January 10, 1992].

Izzy would be asked about Slash's claim that Izzy had sent in sloppy demos:

That's not Slash talking. That's Axl talking and Slash repeating it. Axl did say the tapes weren't up to GNR standards. Well, in the beginning nobody owned an eight-track. All our tapes were made on a cassette player. Whatever, I'm credited with just about everything I wrote. I will say that Slash was much better at keeping tapes in order. He always labeled stuff.


The claim that Izzy didn't put in enough effort and that the partnership was no longer equal, was an argument Slash would repeat when discussing Izzy [Detroit Free Press, April 12, 1992].

When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.


In the band's official fan club newsletter for March 1992, they would explain what happened to their fans this way:

Izzy Stradlin’ resigned from GN’R. Izzy hasn’t been into GN’R for quite awhile. He didn’t want to tour to do videos or anything. So rather than fake it, Izzy felt (and we support his feelings), that it was best to leave the band and do his own thing. We split on good terms and we’ll miss him. He’s been a part of our lives for a long time and losin’ him is kind of a shock for us too. But we’re confident that things will work out better for everyone this way.


Izzy would admit that the growing estrangement between him and his band mates was partly his fault [Rolling Stone, October 29, 1992].

I did prefer to travel at my own pace. They had a jumbo jet and most of the gigs were 200 miles apart. When a gig was over, my girlfriend and my dog and I would get on the tour bus. I didn't need to go out and get laid. I had to pass on the booze. There just wasn't much for me to do backstage. Toward the end of the tour we even dumped the bus and took a van or a motorcycle. My dog Treader loved being on tour. I got him when I got sober and he's helped me keep my perspective, see life through a dog's eyes. You're doing all right if you've got food, a place to sleep and someone to pet you.

[On why he travelled by himself]: It was only because it was much simpler. Most of the time I got there before the plane did. As weird as it sounds, that was usually the case.



BEING MARGINALIZED


Izzy, on the other hand, would claim they had removed his guitar contributions and that this helped to drive him away:

They took two years to finish the two records, and at the end I don't even feel like listening to the final product. Not at all! In fact I listened to the records only after the concert at Wembley in August 91, and I freaked out: "Where the hell is my fucking guitar?" It's gone! From there I lost the little interest I had left in the G N' R enterprise. This and the stadium tour!


And that he didn't have a say anymore:

It was made clear to me by Axl that he and Slash would steer the machine, control the videos, the direction of the band, everything, and that I had to put up or step out. So I said, 'Fine, I'll go home and paint



PUSHED OUT


Izzy's gradual distancing himself from the band would lead to Axl and Slash demanding more from him [also see previous chapter]:

But I can fault someone, in the same way someone can fault me, for being an asshole about the way he went about it. A comic book says how Izzy comes to me and says, "You know, I just don't feel I'm up to this," and I go, "Yeah, and you're scared, too, aw, shit." Well, that ain't the way it went down. […] We were filming "Don't Cry," and he had to be there. Instead, he sent a really short, cold letter and didn't show up. We got this letter saying, "This changes, this changes, and maybe I'll tour in January." And they were ridiculous demands that weren't going to be met. I talked to Izzy for four and a half hours on the phone. At some points, I was crying, and I was begging. I was doing everything I could to keep him in the band. There were stipulations, though. If he was going to do like the old Izzy did, he wasn't going to make as much money. It was like "You're not giving an equal share." Slash and I were having to do too much work to keep the attention and the energy up in the crowd. You're onstage going, "This is really hard, and I'm into it and I'm doing it, but that guy just gets to stand there." […] But when the guy's getting up at six thirty in the morning and riding bicycles and motorcycles and buying toy airplanes, and he's donating all this energy to something else, and it's taking 100 percent of our energy to do what we're doing on the stage, we were getting ripped off. I'm hoping Izzy's new album rocks. But at the same time, it'll be like "Why couldn't he do that with us?" He wouldn't do anything.


And these stipulations are likely what Izzy refers to in the following quote when he is asked if he felt pushed to leave the band:

Yeah, somewhat. I don't want to get into it too deep; a lot of it's personal stuff. I don't wanna say anything that's already been said about me, you know what I mean? There's been a little shit talked from their side, but I just gotta blow it off and say, 'That's how it is with them, it's nothing new'.


Based on the quotes from Slash it seems Izzy was upset by how much money was spent on the tour (as well as other frustrations he felt at the time, as described in this chapter and previous chapters). Slash and Axl, on their side, was frustrated with Izzy and how he had (for a long time) cares less and less about the band. They then gave him an ultimatum, he either had to pull more weight or he would be demoted (from partner to salaried employee). This likely angered and hurt Izzy resulting in him resigning through the office.

This is right before I left - demoting me to some lower position. They were gonna cut my percentage of royalties down. I was like 'Fuck you! I've been there from day one, why should I do that? Fuck you. I'll go play the Whiskey'. That's what happened. It was utterly insane.

[Being asked about the last straw]: After the first leg of the Use Your Illusion tour, Axl wanted me to sign a contract that was pushing me away a little bit, and that it stated that I would be paid less. I couldn't believe it. This contract was coming from a guy that I grew up with. We always saw Guns N' Roses as a "friends thing" and, all of a sudden, basically the singer was telling me "now, it's a business". Why would I go on? Where was the fun? It was the last straw, but there were things that happened before that scared me: during our first show in London (ed. Donnington), kids died during our set. What the hell is that? Is that what rock n' roll is? Is it having a blast and then finding out in an airport newspaper that kids died during your show? What's the fun in playing stadiums every night and then starting a riot in Saint Louis because the singer loses his shit? You really come to a point where you think "all of this isn't funny anymore". Axl wasn't doing his frontman job anymore. And since the others were completely wasted, I couldn't even get them to learn covers: we could have filled in when Axl would leave the stage, make the kids have fun. So there was a drum solo. What's more boring than a drum solo??


THE LATE STARTS


I never really thought about leaving the band till the last tour we did. I didn't feel it was fair to a lot of the people coming to the gigs to go onstage two or three hours late. That's just not right. That's the way Axl is and the way he works, but it's not right for me, and I didn't think it was right for the fans either. Stuff like that kinda got to me after four months on tour. There's a lotta pressure, I suppose, but the bottom line is, If you gotta be somewhere and there's something you gotta do, you do It. That's how I see it. […] When we were playing the gigs, a lotta times it was a case of, how long's it gonna be before Axl comes back onstage? It's a pretty big stage, and you're going, 'Anybody see which way he went?'. Then you see a bunch of roadies running... And the old filling-in with a blues jam and a drum solo shit gets old when it's on a nightly basis. It wasn't every night, but y'know... […] I don't wanna talk down on these guys because a lot of the stuff that we did as a band was great, some great music, and God knows we had a load of f**king crazy times, good times. I'm really proud of some of the stuff WE did. Now it's 1992, and who knows where it goes from here. I just had to say, 'I'm stepping aside at this point.'

[Talking about trying to learn some songs to play while Axl was off-stage]: I couldn’t get the other guys to learn any cover songs with me, or practice anything to fill the space. I tried talking to Axl about it and he would just get pissed off. I was really fed up and unhappy with it. I felt like there was nothing I could do to fix this thing.

The only thing I wanted to see was the gigs running on time. Also, whoever was responsible for being late should have been prepared to pay the ‘loss charges’ to the union guys. It’s ugly that it comes down to money, but we f***ed away hundreds of thousands of dollars over these late gigs. I didn’t think it was fair for the band to keep turning up late. People have got jobs to go back to in the morning, they have families and kids, they’ve got to get babysitters, and I just figured, ‘Shit, these people are shelling out money for tickets, and we should be on time. If the monitors are f***ed, too f***ing bad. We should just roll with it and try and get them working.

Back when I was a kid, I used to work in a car wash starting at 8 a.m. every day. If you weren't there on time, you got canned. I kept that with me. I think it's just common courtesy not to keep people waiting for you.

The last three months of our last tour got to be a little too much for me. We were having trouble finishing our sets, we couldn’t seem to get on stage at the right time, and it all seemed wrong to me. It just wore me out, and I started thinking, There’s got to be a better way to go about this.

During the last three months I spent on tour with them, it was growing increasingly tough for us to get onstage on time and finish a gig without some sort of interruption. Things were just out of control. In the early days I had some sort of balancing factor in the band, and we'd discuss things. But towards the end, I was less and less spoken to about decisions. I'm sure a lot of it s my own doing, because those last few months were so chaotic that I took a sideline position. I didn't want to be wrapped up in all the madness.

The band was paying hundred of thousands of dollars in curfew violation fees. Izzy finally had it and went over to Axl's house and told him that if he insisted on going on late, the late fees should be charged to him. That was it - Izzy was out of the band.



SOBRIETY


[…] getting sober played a part in my leaving. I think you make more decisions when you're sober. And when you're fucked up, you're more likely to put up with things you wouldn't normally put up with. When I have something I wanna do, I gotta do it. I like just doing it. I didn't like the complications that became such a part of daily life in Guns N' Roses. Sometimes for the simplest things to happen would take days. Time was so slow, you sat around for days just to do a photo shoot. Schedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed. Reschedule it, get a phone call, it's been delayed again. That pattern could stretch out for weeks. On "Illusion", we did the basic tracks in about a month. Then there was a time lag of about a year before the vocals were finished. I went back to Indiana and painted the house. If you've got a group and people are focused, it just shouldn't take that long.

For the 'Use Your Illusion' albums, I was sober doing those tracks, and it was just frustrating. When you're sober and you gotta be someplace at four, and when other people come in at six or seven, and they're, like, not quite together, you find yourself thinking, why the fuck was I here at four?

I quit [drugs and alcohol] the year before I left, and I worked with that band for a whole year and watched everybody killing themselves. They were my friends, and I watched my friends killing themselves using drugs and alcohol. The music had taken a back seat and it had just become a circus show. It wasn’t any fun for me at all, so I decided it was time to do something else. I didn’t know what I was gonna do, but I knew I was tired of doing that.

The shows were completely erratic. I never knew whether we'd be able to finish the show from day-to-day, cos [Axl] would walk off...[…] I said to Duff and Slash, we gotta learn a cover song or something, for when [Axl} leaves the stage. They were like, 'Ah, let's have another beer...' They didn't care.

When [Axl] started earning money and getting girls, he couldn't be handled anymore. Everyone was too wasted. I could deal with myself, but I was witnessing Steven, Slash, and Duff literally killing themselves right before my eyes. I don't even remember if Steven was still in the band actually: what the fuck is that by the way? A musician gets fired from Guns N' Roses because he took drugs while the whole band was doing it all the time? As for me, I quit everything a year before leaving the band. So during that year, I witnessed my friends killing themselves. I didn't want to be a witness to that, I didn't want to wake up one morning next to Slash's dead body, telling myself that I indirectly had a part in it. So I left.



OTHER BULLSHIT


[Talking about the press]: It got to the point where the only thing you’d hear or read about was the antics. There was no talk of the music, which was what it was all meant to be about. If the band is consistently in the papers for things other than the music, it’s weird. We had a lot of drug problems in the band from day one, but, somehow, we managed to rise above that with our music and records. With the “Illusion” albums, it kinda felt that the music had submerged beneath the bullshit.

It was becoming harder and harder to deal with G N’ R on a daily basis. There was always an undercurrent that somebody could go to jail or die of an overdose. And in a big band like that, there are so many phone calls and faxes to worry about. There are so many changes every hour. It was just mind-boggling. I needed to get away and cool out.

It was the last tour that was the beginning of the end for me. We were having a lot of trouble. And I was just growing tired of it. We'd finished up the tour. We'd done America and we'd done Europe and it was time to do videos. I'm just not into the big production videos. I like to keep it real simple, which it wasn't anymore with Guns. […] It just got to the point that Axl, he was going to run the show. He was going to run Guns n' Roses. I just decided I wasn't going to be part of it, that I was going to go off and do whatever. I thought about coming back and planting some acreage [laughter].

It was a pretty tough thing. I was pushed and pulled in any number of directions. It just wasn't working out for me on any level and I couldn't seem to communicate my side of it. […] I couldn't really get through to anybody. I've known Axl a long time and I still have a lot of feelings for these guys. But I had to leave to get sane and somewhat normal. To get back to reality, I guess you could say.

Living with that kind of stuff [the circus that was GN'R] day to day takes its toll. I left because I figured there's got to be a simpler way to get through life day to day.



A LITTLE BIT OF ALL THE ABOVE


The actual reason Izzy left is likely a combination of the above, as described by Izzy in 2001:

The music had taken a back seat, there was nothing new coming from us. We didn't sit around and play acoustic guitars anymore. It was like, oh, time to go on - where's the singer? The singer walked off? Now what do we do?

We'd started out as a garage band and it became like a huge band, which was fine. But everything was so magnified... Drug addictions, personalities... it just became... too much. Plus, my friends, these guys... I'm basically watching them kill themselves. Not so much Axl, but Slash and Duff, man - these guys were on my top ten list of guys that might die this week. And I'm thinking, you know what, I just don't want to be part of it. It didn't feel like it was good.

I knew that it was the beginning of the end as soon as Steven was legally voted out for doing drugs. That from a band that spent years doing groupies and being idiots! But I did Use Your Illusion and the tour. I'd quit drinking and drugs and been through a year's probation. I had my own bus because I had a girlfriend and dogs, and there's nothing worse than waiting on somebody - their jumbo jet would sit on the runway for three hours while Axl blow-dried his hair.

Everything had become magnified - egos, drug habits, indulgence. It wasn't about music. We did fucking multi-million drama videos, like what happened to five guys playing rock n roll? Helicopters, supermodels, it was the lamest thing. The final straw was Axl, who was like Adolf, had a contract drawn up for me so he could lower me down the totem pole. It said my wages should be reduced because I didn't move about enough on-stage. When I heard that I was like, "Fuck this guy." We came from the same place, helped each other, now he thinks he's the king. I told them to do the papers so I could leave.



COULDN'T HANDLE THE TOURING?


Media would report that Izzy left because he "got tired of touring" [The Indianapolis Star, July 21, 1992]. Izzy would dispute he had a problem with the touring:

I ain’t got a problem, really, with touring. I think I got a bad rap on all that, but... You know what I mean, it’s like... […] Well, I had a bus and they had a plane. And I beat them; to the gig (chuckles). [...] You get to the point where you’re like, am I gonna carry on like this or am I not, you know. And I said I’m not.

I've always loved touring. I got a bad rap from the Gunners about not wanting to tour and do videos and all that. But I've always loved traveling and I've always loved playing different places. I've lived from suitcase to suitcase since '86.


Later, Slash would also imply Izzy struggled with the touring:

His heart wasn't in being in the band by then. He lost interest a long time before he quit, and he was getting tired of being on the road.



COULDN'T HANDLE THE PRESSURE?


In September Duff would say that Izzy quit because he "couldn't handle the pressure" [The Gazette/Orange County Register, September 26, 1992]. Axl would also indicate that a sober Izzy couldn't handle it the same way as before:

Then when [Izzy] got straight...I think it really has to do with what it takes to face that big audience. I wouldn't call it stage fright. It's something else, and to psyche yourself up for that, the old Guns doesn't seem to be able to do it without medication.
Rolling Stone, January 2000; interview from November 1999



A FALLOUT WITH AXL?


[Talking about strained relationships and that he]: [...] rarely saw [Axl], except of gigs. The band had a great big aeroplane, and I only rode it once, I think.


The deteriorating friendship between Izzy and Axl was a main reason for his decision to leave:

The differences of opinion were between me and Axl. I tried to resolve the problems with him before I left, but it didn’t look too promising. I’d known him for long enough to know that he was going to do things his way, and I’d end up doing things my way. We were both hard-headed in that sense.


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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:33 am

IZZY, AFTER GUNS N' ROSES


I know that it'll follow me for a long time. Guns N' Roses are just that big. Wherever I go I bump into the band. If I put the TV on there's Axl on screen, if I go into a supermarket you can bet on the way there I'll see posters for their tours. If I put the radio on some Guns N' Roses track will be playing. We had a lot of fun together. I like remembering all the times we had together. Of course there were times when it wasn't all fun, but the good times far outweighed the bad times. Guns N' Roses was an experience that I just had to be part of.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

After leaving Guns N' Roses, Izzy went on a road trip, trying to figure out what to do next:

The morning after I’d decided to leave, I felt like a huge burden had just disappeared from my life. That’s the best way to describe it. I loaded up a van and went on a two-week road trip to the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, the Florida Keys and a bunch of other places. It was great to get back to everyday life, where you pump your own gas and change your own tires. It was a long overdue vacation, and I loved it.

I went on a trip across the States. I went to Grand Canyon, and New Orleans, and Florida, and I surfed and... Just, you know, I went around going, 'What will I do now?'



1991: WANTED IN THE BLACK CROWES


While travelling he found out he was rumoured to replace Jett Cease, the guitarist of the Black Crowes:

When I left LA after I split from GN'R, I went on a road trip to New Orleans. From there I called my brother and he told me I'd got a fax from Rich [Robinson] in The Black Crowes. I had no idea their guitar player had split. [...] I stopped by Rich's home and he said, 'Maybe we should get together and write some songs'. I said, 'Let me take my stuff back to Indiana and get my house in order'. I love The Black Crowes, but because it was immediately after GN'R, I don't think I was ready to make any quick moves. I thought I'd just go and ride trials for a while.

We were gonna hook up and do some jammin', but it never happened, because...some other things I had to take care of, you know?

The thing is that once you've been in Guns N' Roses, probably the world's biggest band, you can't just join another band, even the Black Crowes. And if you've played with a singer like Axl Rose then it's really difficult to get used to another vocalist. I just couldn't do it.

[…] I was not so much proposed. I stopped by Rich (Robinson)'s house in Georgia, and he said if I wanted to get together with him and work on any songs or anything, then we could do that. I told him I was gonna drive back to Indiana and relax there for about a week. What happened was that I got the bike out, so I didn't really do anything with music for that period. It was too soon.


Basically, Izzy was tired of playing guitar:

I just wasn't interested in playing guitar at that time. I don't think I touched a guitar for about a month. I was getting off on riding, but, it got cold, winter came, and I was sitting in a room with a guitar in the corner and it's like, 'C'mon, play me'! Once I started playing again I thought, this is the one thing that seems to make sense.



1991-1993 - IZZY STRADLIN AND THE JUJU HOUNDS


Around December 1991 Izzy would start writing music again [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

From January [1992], the only thing I've really been doing is playing guitar. I put the bikes away because I found myself getting into music probably more than I ever have.

I started putting a band and the material together in January. I was sitting in Indiana thinking, man, how do I find musicians? I couldn't just run an ad in a local trade paper. You wanna find somebody you can relate to, and the guys I got are all seasoned, proven. […] I hooked up with Jimmy [Ashurst] in LA. I'd known him for years, when he was in The Broken Homes. Once we'd got a drummer, Charlie Quintana, we'd recorded these basic tracks, so I asked Jimmy what Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites was doing. Jimmy told me the Satellites broke up. This is how outta touch I am!

I was just thinking that I was gonna race motorcycles, I was competing in Trials Bikes up until December. Then winter came and the events were over in the Midwest, 'cos it's too cold. So, there's a guitar sitting in the corner of my room, and I just looked at it and thought, 'What else am I gonna do?' I've got an 8-track recorder, so I dug that out of the garage and hooked that up. then I dragged out a drum kit and a bass guitar, and the next thing you know it's one thing leading to the next. I had a few people call me up to write songs with them. I mean, that was a big surprise. I thought, shit, I guess I could, 'cos it's not like somebody calls me up every day to work on their car.

I started writing songs again. I figured, shit, I can do a record with Geffen so I might as well do a record. I figured, man, if they sold millions of records with Guns n' Roses, y'know? I never had any major problems with anybody at the label, and I was pretty happy with the results that they'd produced. If you've got a good thing, why change?


And in the summer of 1992 it was rumored that Izzy had a new band and was working on a record to be released and a following clubs and smaller concert halls tour [Kerrang! June 6, 1992: Journal and Courier, July 21, 1992]. In August it was reported he was putting the "finishing touches" on his "first solo album" [The Akron Beacon Journal, August 23, 1992], and this he did in Copenhagen, Denmark [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

I think it took about three months… or four months…[to record the record] I’m not sure, I think three… I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but what I do remember is that at the time of recording there was a huge riot in the streets of Los Angeles (The Riots of ’91 because of the Rodney King case). I was going to the studio and the streets were on fire, and there were guys stealing and destroying things everywhere. After that we went to Chicago to record, so it must’ve been three or four months, which is very quick if you compare it with the time it took to record with Guns N’ Roses! (laughs), but not as fast as the Ramones recorded (laughs).
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

Well, I put together 12 or 13 songs, and then I hooked up with Jimmy Ashurst (bass) out in LA. He's an old buddy of mine from the mid-'80s. I called him and asked him what he was doing and he said that his band, Broken Homes, had split up so he was just hanging out in LA and working in a record store. I said that I'd got a record I was thinking about doing, and I asked him if he'd be interested. We got together, so I put all my shit back in the van and headed out to LA again.

Rick (Richards, guitar) came from the Georgia Satellites obviously, and Jimmy's got the phone numbers on everybody. When we needed a keyboard player, I asked him what he'd got under 'Keyboards'. That's how we ended up with Nicky Hopkins (who appeared on several Beatles sessions and toured with the Stones on their 'Steel Wheels' tour), he did a track. Ian MacLagan (ex-The Faces) also did some stuff. Anyway, Rick came out of that book, too. I didn't even know the Satellites had split up. Charlie (Quintana, Bob Dylan's touring drummer) had played with Broken Homes in some form or other, I don't know when.

We worked out in LA, at Total Access Studios, 'til April. I like it there 'cos it's out of the rush of Hollywood and all the usual fiasco. then we went to Chicago from there. We ended up at Chicago Recording Company, which is right by the lake. We're going back up there to start rehearsing.

I'm not really gonna try and control any of it. We'll rehearse, get a set together and set up gigs, then we'll see where it goes. I mean, it's not right for me to lay anything down on these guys, like how to live or how to play or anything.


The solo record was to be called 'Ju Ju Hounds' and was scheduled for release in October 1992, preceded by an EP that would be out in September [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].


Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds
October 13, 1992


Describing the record and the EP:

Basically, I just wanted to get back to what really gets me off, just a basic rock 'n' roll band, a coupla guitars, drums and bass. Simple. […] The album's better, I would think, it's more mixed. The EP's just got three slammers on it, and a reggae song. The album's got a couple of acoustic songs, a coupla slammers, some basic rock tunes and one reggae song too.

The EP is a lot rougher sounding, probably a little faster. The top three songs on that (the title track and the cool Punk of 'Been A Fix' and 'Came Unglued') were the more upbeat ones. The album's got an acoustic song or two, it's got some faster stuff than 'Pressure Drop', it's a lot more varied. There's a coupla songs that I guess are a little bit reflective, it pretty much speaks for itself. There's no heavy concepts or political messages.

It was a crack up pretty much. Everybody was having a good time and it was one of those records where we'd start recording in the afternoon and work until the night. A lot of it was recorded in the daytime, which was a bit of a switch for me. It seemed natural, y'know, before the only other thing I did outside of Guns n' Roses was helping out Alice Cooper back in '88. They sent us a tape down that was 'Under My Wheels', and me and Slash and Axl played on it. Other than that I'd never really worked with outside bands or musicians. It was interesting, 'cos I got to see some different personalities and ideas.


He also took a dig at GN'R:

Listen, to sum it up, at a moment, I felt like scraping it all down to the bone. Do some rock n' roll. Stop complicating the thing with a six-piece brass band, three back up singers, the harpist and the pianist... Dizzy plays great, that's not the problem, but that's not rock n' roll... What Guns did well, and that I will always defend, is our eruption on the scene.

[The recording process] was disciplined, but relaxed. We set ourselves times when we'd start and when we'd finish. It worked really well. No stress, no chaos and nice and quiet. When I think about how we worked when I was with Guns N' Roses it was the complete opposite. It was impossible to get organised, there was always stress. It was pure chaos. The simplest conversations or situations would get turned into massive problems. It's only now that I've learnt what a little self-discipline can do. That's how we worked in the studio, we concentrated, we worked quietly and thought everything through first. Everyone knew what they wanted and what they ought to do. It was incredibly creative, friendly and kinda exciting. Nothing could be more different to the way it was in Guns N' Roses. When I look at Guns N' Roses now nothing's changed, they still stumble along on that treadmill. So what? I wish them all the best, I really mean it, but it's just not my kind of thing anymore.

I met those guys (the Stones) when we played with them, with Guns N’ Roses, in some shows. Then came the Atlantic concert where Axl and I went to play ‘Salt of the Earth’. When we were recording our album [=Juju Hounds], I found out that Ron was in the same city recording his, so I called him and said: “Hey Ron, what’s up?’ He said to me: ‘Hey, come to the studio and listen to my record’, so I went and listened to it, and said to him: ‘Listen, we’re making our album, do you want to play on it? We’re going to do one of your songs’. He said yes, came to the studio, and we did it all just in 30 minutes. We rehearsed and recorded the song very quickly. He did the first verse and I did the second. It was great. I keep calling him, if I go to England I’ll call him to see how he’s doing. I don’t know what he’s doing now, I hope he has a record ready.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Izzy would explain the name of the record: "The title of the LP came by accident in the studio. I was singing a backing track to something, and when I played it back it sounded like I said, `Ju ju hound'. It doesn't mean much really" [Kerrang! September 12, 1992].

In fact, there had been a band called "Ju Ju Hounds" playing in Hollywood in the early 80s and Alice Cooper also had a song with 'Juju' in the title:

[Interviewer saying there's an Alice Cooper son with 'Juju' in its title]: Yeah, that’s true, there’s a song by Alice Cooper that is called ‘Black Juju’, I think that it’s on ‘Killers’ (The song is really on the album ‘Love It to Death’). It’s a good song.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


After the release he planned a European club tour with most of the musicians from the album and EP: guitarist Rick Richards (ex-Georgia Satellites), bassist Jimmy Ashurst (ex-Broken Homes) and drummer Charlie Quintana [Kerrang! September 5, 1992].

Alan Niven, who was no managing Izzy, took a dig at GN'R who had claimed Izzy had been tired of the touring:

Statements to the effect that he's 'not into touring and videos' are completely false. Everyone knows Izzy lives to play music and travel.


Slash would be asked about Izzy's music in July:

I haven’t heard any of his new material. I know he does have a band and he’s got a record that’s gonna come out in November.


Talking about his plans:

To put out a good record and go out and do road work and keep writing and keep travelling around and that kind of thing. Oh yeah, and actually find a place to live in between all the touring. Maybe in the States or in Europe. I like both.


Being asked why the songs he wrote in GN'R sounds different to the songs on 'Juju Hounds':

Yeah, it was more of an evolution. And... ah, it's a lot to do with the... players, you know? It's a little bit different approach, I think... different sounds... you know. It's more basic I suppose.


And when asked if he did anything different guitar-wise:



When he started touring they considered playing some Guns N' Roses songs, and even rehearsed some [Star Tribune, February 26, 1993]:

I've thought about it, it might be a good idea. I'll wait and see what the hecklers are yelling. I do know we're not gonna be doing 'Welcome To The Jungle', though,


But in the end decided that it didn't sound right:

It didn’t feel right at all, so we ended up leaving it behind. […] I know some people want to hear it. Guns N’ Roses is touring America this year so if they really want to see it, they should see it with Axl singing it.



In 1995, Slash would imply that Izzy had abandoned his band:

Izzy, obviously, is doing doughnuts in Indiana somewhere. His own band doesn't even know where he is.


Looking back at the Juju Hounds record:

I like it. I heard it again a few weeks ago and I like it. There are some songs that I like a lot, and I love the sound of the keyboards. That’s the reason why I went back to having Ian McLagan again for this new album, because after listening to them I thought that I had to get back that keyboard sound.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



STAYING ON THE NARROW PATH


Izzy was also keeping sober:

Yeah , basically, the only thing that seemed to give me major problems in my life were drugs and alcohol. But now I've been clean for two-and-a-half years.


By early 2000s Izzy was still sober and healthy:

Since I quit drinking, I haven’t been in jail once. I think there may be a connection.



1993-1994 : A NOMAD EXISTENCE


After the last Ju Ju Hounds tour [=which ended in September 1993], I put away my guitars and, for a year, I drove cars and rally motorcycles in races in Indiana. When I go back, I don’t miss a single race and, even on TV, I watch it religiously. Music is cool, but…
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

From 1985 to 1991 I traveled constantly, spending most of my time in hotels. Then we went all over the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia with the Ju Ju Hounds. It becomes a lifestyle. You feel this forward movement, and you gotta keep it going.


In 1998 it would be reported that Izzy had lived in different places around the world: "England, Trinidad, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark and Sweden" [Los Angeles Daily News, March 20, 1998].

I went back to Indiana. At that point I was absolutely fed up with the whole music thing. I was just bored. I had to do something else. So I went over to Madrid and started looking for a place.

I toured a little everywhere to promote the album [=JuJu Hounds]. Then I moved to the Barcelona area for a few months, to get away from everything; no phone, no management, no record label... Then I went to Copenhagen, and then I finally came back to Indiana... Woah, I don't remember everything, but I traveled a lot actually.


The place he found in Spain was a house without a phone in Palafrugell, and he lived there for four months in 1993 or 1994:

That was a little tough. It got to where I had this uncontrollable urge to send a fax or something.

One day Rolling Stones played in Indiana and I was backstage with Keith Richards. I told Keith that I was homeless. He thought it was funny and laughed: 'Ah, a man without a home'.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish

I was living on the coast for four months. After the first album, in ’93 or ’94, I believe. I was looking for a new place to live and I was on the coast of Spain, in Palagrugell, in a house I rented. I had a great time, I enjoyed it a lot. And I like Barcelona a lot. I was there… I have a friend who lives in Barcelona, he’s a promotor, I don’t know if you would know him. I loved playing there, one of the best parts of the tour was the show in Barcelona.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Despite this nomad existence, he would claim Indiana had been his home base since 1988 when he moved back there [BAM, 1998]


1994: SETTLING IN LAFAYETTE, INDIANA


Izzy didn't think Keith Richards comment was particularly funny so he and his wife Annika (whom he married in 1991), after a few months in Spain [Press Kit for 117 Degrees, January 1998] moved into a house in his old hometown of Lafayette, Indiana [Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998] on 1994 [Classic Rock, June 2001].

My adolescence was just like Beavis & Butthead. In the town, a t-shirt with the text 'Lafayette - the all American city' is being sold. A friend usually says that it ought to say 'Lafayette - the all American city, bring your own fun'. There's absolutely nothing to do there.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


There Izzy would take up racing:

We started out racing bikes, these specialized models. But then we moved onto cars - old BMW 2002s and Alfa Romeo GTVs from the '70s. You can pick them up pretty cheaply and they run real well. Racing is a great tension release.

I'm crazy about driving fast, shouts Izzy. Next year I'm going to start driving amateur rally and hopefully follow the Paris-Dakhar in place.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish

We bought this old road grader over the phone - sight unseen. It had no brakes and leaked, but it had the big blade and we just went around in circles and made the track. We started out racing bikes, theses specialezed models. But then we moved on to cars. It was a generally a 'run what ya brung' setup. I started getting into the old BMW 2002s and Alfa Romeo GTVs. They're from the 70s. You can pick 'em up pretty cheaply, maybe $1,500 for the beaters, and they run real well. They were endurance races, just for fun. I've always been into anything motorized. Racing is a great tension release.


And motor cycles:

As soon as I became sober I bought a Harley and I have been addicted ever since. I don't drive for escaping something, but because it's fun. I love the movement and the freedom.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


In 1996, when asked what Izzy was up to, Duff would answer:

Izzy is racing Porches up in the desert. He's cool.


In 1998, Izzy would describe what success meant to him:

A day off to ride my motorcycle. That's as simple as it gets. That's my idea of fun: being successful enough so I can have a day off to ride my motorcycle.



1995 - THE JUJU HOUNDS AGAIN?


At some point after the first Ju Ju Hounds tour that ended in 1993, Izzy started working on a follow-up album. Parts of the album was recorded while Izzy was on extended stays in England and Trinidad [Press Kit for 117 Degrees, January 1998]. But for unknown reasons this record was never released. Some of the songs did end up on 117 Degrees.


MARCH 1998 - 117 DEGREES


In April 1995 Izzy reconnected with Duff and started writing music again:

We recorded 10 songs in eight days. It got me excited about music again. I realized how easy the whole process could be. Those sessions were fun and painless. We just had a great time.

Once I was [in Los Angeles], I was like, 'Hey, this is OK'. I met some new people and that's when I got back into the idea of making another record. [Me and Duff] wrote 10 songs in a week. I had such a great time....

In April 1995, I started working with Duff again in Los Angeles. Duff was the bassist for Guns N' Roses (ed: Izzy gives us this precision in all seriousness!) At this point, I felt good in LA. However, when I started working on my second solo album, 117°, things were weird with my record label, Geffen: I didn't know anyone anymore! In three years, all the employees changed.


Explaining the long period between Juju Hounds and 117 degrees:

Well, I guess that I was mostly driving a lot of motorcycles. After the first tour, I spent four months in Spain. When I was in Barcelona I went to a motorcycle shop, Bordoy, I think it was called, and I bought a European bike… Then in ’95 Duff called me, we were recording and had a great time, so he played on the second album “117°”. It was recorded very quickly.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


This led to him establish a solo band with guitarist Rick Richards, Duff and drummer Taz Bentley [Los Angeles Daily News, March 20, 1998].

Explaining why he changed from "JuJu Hounds" to make it a solo project:

On 117°, I changed the rhythm section so naturally, I thought it was logical to change the name of my band.​

Rick was in Ju Ju Hounds and he is still with me. I started playing with Duff again in the rhythm section together with Taz, a Texan[?] that deals with the drums. I have been working with them on the last two or three discs, I only used the Ju Ju Hounds for the first album and later I stopped doing it.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish


Prominent on the record would be guitarist Rick Richards who also played in JuJu Hounds [Guitar, September 1998], drummer Patrick Taz Bentley from Reverend Horton Heat [Rock & Folk, April 1998], and Duff [Press Kit, January 1998]. The original bassist had been a friend of Izzy's, but Duff was drafted in to re-record his parts [Press Kit, January 1998].

I never have to tell [Richards] anything. He plays what I would play if I could. It's like having an extra pair of hands.
Guitar, September 1998; original source unknown


The record would be titled "117 degrees" and was released om March 10, 1998 [Press Kit, January 1998; Guitar, September 1998].


117 degrees
March 10, 1998


The record would contain songs from the Ju Ju Hounds sessions, including 'Gotta Say' (recorded in England) and 'Good Enough' (recorded in Trinidad) [Press Kit, January 1998].

Talking about the new record:

We went to the Complex, in Santa Monica [Calif.], and recorded this really aggro stuff, all thrashers. Then Duff came in and re-recorded all the bass parts. The songs sounded amazing.

In the beginning, I'd really wanted to put out a screamin'-fast, 100-mile-an-hour record. But after Duff got involved, we decided to work on some slower stuff to give the album more depth and variety. So we went to Rumbo [Recorders, in Canoga Park, Calif.], where Guns did Appetite for Destruction, and cut a few more tracks.

Last year I had delivered to my record company an album with ten songs of pure rock and two instrumentals. But they didn’t like it, so I had to start writing ballads like “Gotta Say” or “Bleedin’", but I kept them simple, no keyboards or anything like that.
Rock & Folk, April 1998; translated from French

The album is totally random. It's just about situations I've been in over the past few years, mostly in Lafayette. That's always how I approach songwriting - no big statement, just telling it like it is. Otherwise, you take all the fun out of it.

We started it in like '93, '94. There were no slow songs on it, it was all thrashers like [the instrumental] 'Grunt'; real hard rock, fast stuff. The label said no go. I said, 'Okay, fine.' They wanted some old, slow stuff from the earlier sessions, so it was a compromise, this record, to get everything out and on it, so... it worked out okay. […] Yeah, I was pissed [about the label not accepting the first track list]. Just for like five minutes. It's like... I don't know what to say about it. At the end of the day, it all worked out.
Guitar, September 1998; original source unknown


Being forced to go back into the studio to record new songs pissed Izzy off, and resulted partly in the lyrics to the song 'Ain't it a Bitch' [Rock & Folk, April 1998].

But although he had been inspired to create music again with Duff in 1995, by 1998 he was tired of it again:

The music has no attraction, it feels like a job.
Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998; translated from Swedish


Izzy ended up doing only a few interviews to promote '117 degrees', didn't tour at all, and "didn't care a shit" how the album did [Expressen Fredag, March 20, 1998]. In 2001, he would describe his exasperation with journalists:

But when I first did press, it was like, 'I didn't hear your record but I heard you did heroin.' I'm like, yeah, I did heroin. Next guy, same thing. It was the Jerry Springer Show. I said, let's take a break...

I did a few interviews in Europe and Japan, everything was going well, but when I started talking to American journalists, who are really bad compared to the others, I said to myself, "Hey! I'm not gonna speak to the press anymore. I'm not interested anymore."


When asked why he did so few interviews to promote 117 degrees:

By the time the album came out, the company guys started to question the music that I was doing. Throughout the time I was with Guns N’ Roses, nobody got into what we were doing, and now I found out that the guys from the company didn’t like what I was doing, which was very annoying. I then did some promotion with Japanese and European journalists, and then the first time in a long time I spoke with an American journalist, the first thing that he says to me is: “You know what? I didn’t listen to your record, but I know you did heroin.” The first time! It went like this: “I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I know you were doing drugs”. I don’t know… I just wanted to do what I really liked, and all those people in the company didn’t like the songs.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


After releasing 117 degrees Izzy spent more time travelling:

I decided to visit California on my motorcycle. For two years. There are many beautiful things in this state. Sure, maybe it's not as beautiful as the Alps, but I had fun. Alone with my backpack, my tent, my bike, and my maps.​



1998/1999 - RIDE ON


Despite seemingly become tired of music last year, in 1998 or 1999 he would release a new solo album called 'Ride On':

Also Izzy is releasing a brand new record on his brand web page very very soon.

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there.​



Ride On
November 1999


Explaining the limited release:

[…] we sent it to some companies in London and UK. and they did not answer with very much enthusiasm, they weren't crazy about it, for that reason we weren't able to publish it in Europe. We are trying to put it out this year through Sanctuary.
Kerrang! (Spain), June 2001; translated from Spanish

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Talking about his solo records:

These records I've been putting out, it's painless man. We just have some fun, get the songs going, work on 'em a bit and there's really nothing to it after you've done it a few times.


In April 2000, Izzy would do a four-show tour in japan to support 'Ride On' with Duff joining the band [Japanese Radio, April 19, 2000].

[…] we went to Japan and had a great time playing there. We went with Rick and Taz…
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish

It was nice, because now we don’t drink and we remember everything now. It’s nice to play with him. Yeah, we had a great time.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


When asked if they had played any Guns N' Roses songs during this mini-tour, Duff responded:

We played 'Attitude', which is not a Guns N' Roses song, but we made it popular. "Made popular by Guns N' Roses" [says in a joking tone].

In the 80's, the band just struck a nerve. But since I left, I've never played any Guns N' Roses songs. I played in Japan one time with Duff and we tried 'Paradise City' but we couldn't do it and keep a straight face.



MOVING BACK TO LOS ANGELES


I sold my house [in Indiana], now I live in Los Angeles. I did it because I had that yard with all that grass and I never cut it. When you live in a house that has grass, you have to take care of it and I didn’t, so it was a complete disaster. Although I’m thinking of coming back to Europe. I like southern Europe, I like Spain. All of southern Europe.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



2001 - RIVER


In 2001 Izzy would release yet another solo record, River.


River
May 21, 2001


As for Ride On, he struggled to have the record released but eventually ended up on Sanctuary:

[…] when we recorded “Ride On” no company wanted it, because they didn’t see any singles, so I decided to release it in Japan. With the latter, “River”, the same thing happened until it reached the hands of Sanctuary Records, a company from England. I received a call and they told me: “Hey Izzy, we love your album”, so they released it. So now we’re with a small company, which is better than being in a gigantic company.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


For the US release, Izzy would end up using the independent Bilawn Records label and the album would be available on the Bilawn's website [CDNow, August 11, 2001].

Talking about the record:

It was only 1998 or 1999, I don't remember, that we started Ride On. It came out only in Japan and we played a few shows there. Then I started this new album, River, right away. The shows in Japan really invigorated us. We composed a few tracks there, others in Seattle - where Duff lives -, and a reggae track in Los Angeles.​

[Explaining the album title]: On River, there's a track called River and it happens to be my favorite on the album.

[…] we've been together since 1995. There is Rick Richards of Georgia Satellites who plays the guitar with me. He plays all slide parts and solos. He is very strong and we perfectly completes each other. He's been with me since 1992 and played on all my disks. There is Duff who also plays on my disk. He plays on all titles except on the reggae. This is not a style that inspires him but me, I love it. To the percussion there is Taz who comes from a psychobilly group of that has been badly marketed in the States. It is a type of rockabilly played knew steroids, in depth the case. It would be necessary that I send you a CD. He plays on my last three albums. There is also Ian McLagan that is also a precious help to me. I am very attached to the human rapport and rather of the faithful kind. These types are extra and I am very proud to have them with me. They will be also present on the next tour.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

I don't have anything against writing jointly; I wrote most songs for River alone, but there are some exceptions, like the first piece of the album, where it is Rick who came up with the music. When it was pointed and that he played me this riff, I found it so good that I made it the starting point of a new song and I don't regret anything when I listen to the final result. I only had to put lyrics over it. All was held perfectly with a lot of spontaneity. The remainder has been made in a very simple manner, I write in my corner with acoustic and I unload to repeat them to show them that that I made. Then, we arrange that all together, each is free to bring ideas and to play parts as he feels it on his instrument. I'm not a dictator. Rarely, I compose on the electric but I find that it is easier with an acoustic. Sometimes, we even play all together with the acoustic before passing to the big electric sound. It is maybe a question of resonance. It is as when you sing while accompanying on twelve-string acoustics. It would be necessary besides that I buy myself one. I have an excellent six string, but it is going to be necessary that I think about finding me one of those.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

There were five days of work in Seattle and five days in Los Angeles. The majority of the songs were written before, but much of the arrangements were made in studio on the fly. There is only the reggae that was written directly in the studio. We were alone, Taz and me, and we left on this idea to go until the end, he did the percussion and I undertook the remainder. All the remainder was recorded with the whole group. With regard to the words, I must confess that I arrived at the studio with quite a lot of holes but we finished everything there. Generally, I am satisfied with only one verse and only one chorus to start to work on a title. Thereafter, I finish with the will of inspiration. Ian McLagan did all the keyboard parts in only one day when we were in Texas. I believe that all really was in the box in three weeks, which is not enormous since the mixing is included.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

[…] there are three or four songs on the album which I had written during the tour that we did last year in Japan. The rest was made up when I was in L.A. There's also a song which I had already worked in 1992 with Ju Ju Hounds. I had to record it at least five times, there's even a version where Slash does the lead guitar. It was a good song, but there was something which didn't stick. I changed full with things and I also changed the lyrics, it finally became the reggae which is reproduced on River! The title-track, "River", dates from at least a year ago, I recorded it on my 4-track and I revised it a good package of time before arriving at the final result. I can leave an idea in a corner for six months or a year before returning there, I created a kind of musical bank for myself where I can draw ideas according to my desires or of my inspiration.
Guitar & Bass (France), June 2001; translated from French

This is more like my first solo album, it has a lot more piano. I went back to Ian McLagan, that’s why there’s a lot more piano and organ. I’ve also worked with Rick Richards again, so it’s very similar to the first one.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


Talking about his collaborations with Duff:

I actually just spoke with him on the phone yesterday. He has worked on all my albums. We love working together, we always have had a great time, since Guns N’ Roses.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish


And Duff would talk about collaborating with Izzy:

I’ve gone and played with Izzy over in Japan. Izzy puts a record out a year over there, and uh, tours there once a year. And it’s great, you know, he has no interest in putting a record out any where else, at all. […] He doesn’t like the stardom part of playing - he likes to play, and he likes to make records. […] Guns sold so many damn records that, you know, nobody really has to do anything for a living – you know what I mean? That’s not part of the equation. I don’t want it to sound anything more than just absolutely truthful. He doesn’t have to do it for a living, you know. So he just does it because he wants to all right? It’s very cool, you know? Izzy’s Izzy, you know?


And on touring the band in the summer:

I’m very content with [The River]. Now that it’s done, I hope to reunite the band to rehearse the songs and carry out a small tour in the summer.
Popular 1 (Spain), July 2001; translated from Spanish



2002: On Down the Road


In early 2002 it would be reported that Izzy would collaborate with both Slash and Duff on his next record, and that Slash would contribute with three songs he had written himself [KNAC.com, January 15, 2002]. According to Slash, he had written five songs with Izzy in November 2001 [MTV News, January 23, 2002].

The thing with Izzy's [solo] record is that I got involved with him because we talk on the phone a lot, and he's just always doing these anonymous projects in his own quiet little fashion. It's just nice to get together and write again.

We got together to work on songs, and they sound like Izzy, like Izzy and Slash, so they're easy to recognize that way. They have a sense of humor about them, but they're loose and laid back. They're not heavy-duty, arrangement-oriented songs. They're just basic ideas that we thought were cool, so we threw it down.

Me and Slash are just the session guys, man [laughs]. I just went in and did bass tracks for the first three songs in an hour and kept at it.

We were in the studio last week. He called me up and asked me if I’d like to play on some stuff he’d written. And we really don’t know what we’re going to do with it. It’s the [Thanksgiving] holiday this weekend, and I guess we’ll meet next week and figure it out from there. It was good playing with him again. It was like that getting on a bicycle thing...
Classic Rock, January 2002; interview from 2001


But in June it would be stated that Slash would not contribute to the record [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002]. The record was also slated for an August release in Japan [Blabbermouth, June 14, 2002].


On Down the Road
August 21, 2002
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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:02 am

NOVEMBER 1991-MAY 1993
IZZY AND GUNS N' ROSES AFTER THE SPLIT


Izzy leaving the band was a big shock to the band and fans alike. The fallout from the band members telling their side of what happened to the media affected the relationship between Izzy and his previous band members for a long time.

In March 1992 it seems like the split was permanent, because Slash would indicate that they probably weren't going to be working together after all:

I don’t know what’s gonna happen with Izzy. That’s a personal kind of a situation in a way, cuz of course, you know, we’ve been together for a long time, and him and Axl’s known each other for a long time. We went through a lot of stuff together. But he basically just wasn’t interested in doing it anymore for whatever reasons [that] are basically unknown. I mean, I have my ideas, and Axl has his ideas and Duff as well, so... It’s like, the songs that he wrote on this record, a lot of them the band really had to work up to make them sound the way that they do. Maybe he didn’t want them to sound that way, I’m not really sure. So as far as writing songs in the future, I just figure, you know, the three of us are gonna do what we’re gonna do. I don’t know if we’re gonna keep working with Gilby or not, because we’re just touring right now doing songs that have already been recorded. And as far as the relationship with Izzy goes, if it doesn’t happen, obviously we’re not gonna, like, go, “We can’t write songs anymore,” because obviously we’ve written a lot of songs without him, and so....


And when asked if he was still in contact with Izzy:

No, I don’t think we’re a real good – you know, in a good way as far as a relationship goes, but it is a time-will-tell thing.


Axl would talk about being angry with Izzy, also because Izzy had decided to continue working with Alan Niven:

I'm angry with him because he left in a very shitty way, and he tries to act like everything's cool. He put his trust in people that I consider my enemies. People like (former G n' R manager) Alan Niven, who I think is his manager now. I don't need Alan Niven knowing jack shit about Guns n' Roses. Everybody has a lot of good and bad, and with Alan, I just got sick of his fucking combo platter. It's like "If you're involved with these people, we can't talk to you."

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. […] There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.


During a call-in interview on Rockline in July, Slash was asked if Izzy would contribute to songwriting in the future, to which Slash replied:

I’m gonna talk to [Izzy] tomorrow about some of the so-called logistics having to do with the situation that we’re dealing with, so we’ll take it from there.


In July 1992 Slash would say he had just met Izzy for the first time since the break-up:

I saw him for the first time here in New York. We met in a neutral place, a neutral hotel. And it was great, because there’s so much red tape and so much politics involved, that you don’t communicate at all as people. You go through, you know, management calls so and so and so and so, calls the accountants, messages go back and forth. Everything snowballs and you get to a point where it’s so out of hand, this whole split. I can admit that we, like, hated Izzy, because he wouldn’t deal with us directly, he didn’t quit directly. You know, he sent a memo, a letter of resignation to the accountants and to the management, so we were just like, “You know, where you...?” You know, cuz that felt closer than that. But there was a lot of stuff in the way that this band has evolved, that has gone on emotionally, technically as far as business is concerned, the whole stature of it just being sort of overbearing, and all that. So we got a chance to actually talk about a lot of the personal things that we felt in all of this, you know, sort of Guns N’ Roses hype, and hysteria, and all that; because, as band members, we never felt like a part of it, it was always what was built up around us. And it got to a point where he didn’t want to be involved in the amount of work that it took and the amount of stress, and energy, and sleepless nights that took to keep it going so that it didn’t fall apart. So he just bailed and we took that really personally. But having seen him recently, it was nice. I missed the guy, you know. It was nice to actually see him. And we talked about how we want to make this a clean break without going to court, without having to make it, you know, insanely public and bicker back and forth in the press; which is really easy, because attorneys can send out letters and they print them in the press, and then we, you know, the band or the members of the band, see it and go, “How can he say that?” and it’s really not what came out of his mouth. And that builds up after a while and then you tend to misjudge somebody altogether. I mean, as long as he’s happy it’s cool, as long as we have an amicable split on the technical side, then everything will be fine. […] It was a lot more personal than what we’ve been dealing with over the last year. […] there was things that we disagreed on. You know, we disagreed on a lot of stuff all the way through this. But at least we could talk about it as friends and as people, as opposed to...[…] You know, through black and white, and all the logistics that the perception the people that work around us get in the way that they communicate. […]  the wounds I guess have healed at this point. I mean, we’ve just gone on to do what Guns was planning on doing and he’s gonna do his own thing. And so we don’t really give a shit at this point, you know. […] we had a great time. We, sort of like, took all the fax papers, sort of put it aside, and just talked amongst each other […].


Izzy would also mention the meeting with Slash but that he still hadn't resolved things with Axl:

Since [leaving], I've talked to Slash once, about a week ago in New York, and, uh, the last time I saw Axl there were a lotta harsh words - from him - so I kinda left it alone. I called him once after that, we talked for about a half hour, so I'm kinda wailing for him to call me back to discuss the things that we haven't really resolved.


That phone call with Axl took place in December 1991:

I called him up, said, 'Hey, you still pissed off?' 'No, I'm not pissed off.' Things were okay. But then time went by, and he got pissed off again.

We haven't talked to each other for seven or eight months. Actually, we did. Two weeks ago I was in New York and I bumped into Slash. Of course, he was furious. Well... We finally talked a little bit, just him and me. That was cool!

I would have rather met with Axl. But I guess Slash was 'designated diplomat.' He was as apprehensive as I felt, so it felt pretty good. Then the next thing I heard was on MTV in Europe: 'Izzy's forgiven, and he's doing a reggae album.' So I don't know what it actually accomplished.


Talking about the split:

I mean, now [Izzy leaving is] okay, because it worked out good for everybody. It worked out good for Izzy because he's gonna make his own record. He really wasn't happy anymore being in the band, therefore if he wasn't happy, they weren’t happy, and now they've got someone who is. Now they can tour and not worry about problems. Now they can make videos and not worry. […] I mean, you know, he never really wanted to be in the world's biggest rock band. He was always kind of like a club kind of rock guy. You know it just didn't go where he wanted it to go. So everybody's got to do what they wanted to do. Hopefully, it'll work great for both sides.

Losing both Izzy and Steven were the biggest tests we could possibly face. Because we're such a tight family, losing two members was really traumatic - yet we somehow survived. That was the be-all, end-all obstacle. As Spinal Tap as it may seem, we are still real people, and it was incredibly personal. […] Nothing phases me now - even this postponed tour with Metallica. It's just a period and we'll move on. The key is not to go crazy. Believe me, this situation is nothing compared to losing Izzy. That was heavy. That's why I'm not freaking out.
Guitar World, November 1992 (interview from August)


When asked about the allegations that he wouldn't work while in GN'R yet was about to release a new record in about six months, Izzy would respond:

How can I say this without spitting more venom into the debate? I saw all their dirty laundry bashing all over the magazines. At some time, I felt a little bit like picking up my phone, call a journalist and spit my answer, my version of the story... […] Finally I decided to get into the studio. The others can say whatever they want.


In the October issue of RIP Axl would again talk about Izzy leaving and how he felt, and indicate that he felt Izzy's working with Alan Niven as a particular betrayal:

I feel like shit all over me, and I wiped it off and ain't too happy that it happened. I think for a long period of time Izzy wanted to be more independent, but Guns N' Roses took off fast, and he was such a part of it, it was hard to take that step. That's my opinion. There are certain responsibilities to Guns N' Roses that Izzy didn't want to face. He basically didn't want to work as hard at certain things as we did. He pretty much just showed up before we went onstage, would get upset that I wasn't on time, played, then split. There were times when we'd get off stage, and five minutes later he was gone. He didn't socialize with the band on any level, and he had a real problem being sober and being around us. Izzy's always been very compulsive and impulsive, and although he's quit abusing various substances, he still hasn't gotten to the base of the reason why he was abusive. He hasn't solved that, so instead of doing drugs, drinking and womanizing, he was keeping himself busy traveling, bicycling and buying lots of toys. There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that he wasn't able to do the things required of him in Guns N' Roses. Getting Izzy to work hard on the album was like pulling f?!kin teeth. Everybody dreaded it. Nobody would go by the studio while he was there, because no one wanted to deal with it. He'd play something out of key, and we'd ask him to do it again, and he'd be like, "Why? I just did it." Izzy was very unsupportive of me in general. He was very concerned about his free time, and he didn't have a whole lot of understanding of what to takes me to do my job. As far as I'm concerned, he was a lazy, selfish user. There are ways that I miss him and wish it could've gone on, but he was a real f?!king asshole to me. I was always a massive Izzy fan and supporter, but now that he's working with Alan Niven [former GN'R manager], f?!k him - and you can print this. Even if we work things out between us, I won't regret what's coming out in this interview, because it's how I feel. I'm glad we got the songs out of him that we did, and I'm glad he's gone.


The same moth, Izzy would talk about his relationship with Axl:

I wouldn’t say that we were big friends these days, but I’ve known [Axl] for too long to carry any grudges or resentment. […] I feel good about having been in that band and done some of that music and some of those tours, and I don’t have any permanent scars. I’m still able to keep my balance on a skateboard!


In October 1992, Rolling Stone Magazine would publish an in-depth interview with Izzy where he would indicate any bad feelings between him and his former band mates were over:

I don't have any communication with them. I don't know what they do anymore. About the most I know about them is when I watch CNN once in a while: 'Oh, shit, Axl got arrested again.' […] Still, I like to think that those guys are all my friends. It's not like I never want to see them again. The channels are very much open.


One of the more creative questions interviewers came up with, was whether Izzy would donate bone marrow to save Axl's life:

What, you mean if he had an accident? Uh, if he was gonna die I’d give him a little bone marrow. A little. We could work something out!


Axl on the other hand wasn't so gracious, and would continue to bash Izzy from stage. In November 1992 Izzy would give his thoughts on this:

I've heard [Axl]'s still slinging mud. I can't take it personally, because if it wasn't me, it would just be somebody else. Somebody's gonna get it in every city. There's nothing I can do about it. When I left the band, he got real pissed off, told me to get off his property. When I talked to him a couple weeks later, he said he wasn't still mad, but who knows? I've left him all my phone numbers since December, and he still hasn't called. When he's ready, he'll call and we'll talk.

Axl only seems to say bad shit about me. I don't know why he does. Maybe he was just having a bad day. I haven't seen or heard from those guys in a while. I spoke with Slash in New York not so long ago. We talked for like two hours and it was great.


Izzy and Slash would also talk about having played together:

I don't think he really wanted another guitar player, but it was kind of a package deal, Axl and I. We had periods where we actually wrote songs together and worked out our parts. […] He was like a brother, but a brother who really wanted to be out on his own.

Even though the band always sounded cool, Izzy and I never sat down together and worked out guitar parts. We weren't really a team, in that sense. We would just jam, and he'd play things his way and I'd play things my way.


In 1995, Slash would go in more depth on this:

I started out as a one-guitar guy but I ended up being involved with a two-guitar band because I was forced to work with Izzy. Actually Izzy and I have a real natural relationship – it wasn't pre-conceived at all. It just sort of fell into place and I did my thing and Izzy did his and somehow or another we complemented each other. It wasn't supposed to be a two-guitar approach – he was on his side and I was on my side and the end result was completely different guitar players that happened to mesh. There were songs I would have done differently, like 'Welcome To The Jungle'. I really wanted it to sound a certain way and when I listen to it now, I still cringe sometimes. Because I hear this "tink tinkatink tink tinkatink" (Izzy's part) and I just want to hear the riff. For some reason there was interaction but it wasn't conscious. […] So, because I had to work with Izzy, Guns is now a two-guitar band. Duff always goes, "What do we need another guitar player for?" and I go, "Well, because..."

But the only reason Guns had two guitars was because Izzy and Axl came as a package deal. (Eddie van Halen cackles.) I had a band called Road Crew and I couldn’t find a singer. Singers are the hardest thing to find.


And:

Gilby and I probably like each other a lot more than Izzy and I did. I think that's probably it. When Gilby and I write together, if there's a riff, I learn what he's playing and I make up another version of it. In a higher key or something. It's easy because there's no conflict of interest, no ego challenge. With Izzy, I would write stuff that was too complicated for him to play; or Izzy would write a song that was so easy for me to play it was boring. But Izzy's got a natural rock feel and people talk about, "Oh, there's Izzy and there's Keith." And I'm like, "There's Keith and then there's Izzy who could be Keith if he worked at it." They do have the same approach to guitar – open chords and a lot of rhythm. But at the same time Izzy doesn't have enough of a grasp of a guitar neck to make it sound as smooth and natural as Keith does.


In late 1992 Izzy would indicate that he would be careful about what he said about his former band mates, implying a future litigation:

Well... I mean, I gotta leave some of it alone because there are still some unresolved issues with those guys. But it's natural, everybody's gonna wanna know what happened. […]

Just over a period of time, it became obvious to me that I needed to change something in my life. Me leaving the band was the change I needed. It was a big step, but man, it was for the better. Now that I can look back on it, being in Guns N' Roses was complete insanity. Don't get me wrong, there were some great times I had with that band. We had some good gigs and t think some of our songs were okay... I really liked being in G'N'R when you could go grab a beer in some bar after a show and hang out with the guys without being swamped by a thousand 'new friends', you know?

Towards the end we had to send our runners and security guys to go get our beers while we were barricaded in some hotel room, and that ain't living, it's not a whole lotta fun. I think these days Axl even has somebody to open the beer can for him. I don't know, I'm joking of course, but it got a lot like that. Those guys, especially Slash and Axl, are being protected from the outside world now. Even if they wanted, the powers controlling the band wouldn't allow them to go grab a beer in a local bar.


In early 1993, though, he would claim to be on "good terms with all the guys in the band" but that he hadn't seen much of Axl who "is pretty insulated with lots of bodyguards and security" [The Boston Globe, February 5, 1993].

There’s no animosity on my part. After you go through so much with people, it’s hard to say these guys aren’t my friends anymore.

There still is none on my part. For them, there might have been initially when I left. But I'm sure it's like anything else. Life goes on and you gotta carry on.

Duff tried calling me here last night at like 4 in the morning, but I was sleeping. I got the message this morning. I saw  Slash in New York last January and I talked to Matt. […] I haven't talked to Axl since December of '91, but I’m sure he's been busy. But I’ve left the doors open if they want to call or anything like that. No animosity on my part.

[About Duff calling him at 3am]: We'll always have that relationship. We went through a lot. It's like being Army buddies or going through drug rehab together. [chuckles] It was a rocket ride. But am I bitter? Nah. It's too short for that.


Duff would confirm that he had no issues with Izzy leaving, saying his reasons were "very valid", and that he had been the first to contact Izzy after his departure, but also that he didn't miss him as a band member:

l miss Izzy. We lucked out with Gilby. Gilby was the first guy we tried out. Izzy left on very amicable terms speak for myself, okay -- nothing against lzzy, but I don't miss him in the band anymore. Gilby has more than filled Izzy's shoes.

I’ve never had a problem with Izzy. Izzy and I are very amicable and always have been. He had his reasons, and they were very valid. I’m not one to go, Fuck you, man!’. […] I could tell he was just miserable. I knew it wasn’t his bag, and it was killing him. He was all clean and sober, and no way I would’ve wanted to have any part in making him stay in the band, and driving him back to whatever he was doing. So, between him and me there was never a problem.


In March 1993, Slash would say the following about Izzy:

Sometimes I miss [Izzy], but the major part of his personality I don’t miss. After the whole drug thing was over, he and I — probably being the worst of the band as far as that goes — both sort of quit at the same time, give or take a month. Then there were major changes and Izzy became less involved with the band. He took that different road where he could never be around anybody who had done it (drugs).
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13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY - Page 2 Empty Re: 13. JULY-NOVEMBER 1991: USE YOUR ILLUSIONS ARE OUT, SO IS IZZY

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